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Old 02-01-09, 11:24 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2006
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Default Re: Some questions about TVs and monitors...

Originally Posted by CaptNKILL View Post
TVs, cable and home theater setups are generally pretty foreign to me because my PC is pretty much my entire entertainment system. So I have some questions that I'm hoping someone can help to clear up.

First, What are the main fundamental differences between an LCD TV and an LCD computer monitor? You can get monitors that have component and HDMI inputs and you can get TVs that have DVI and VGA inputs, so they can technically be used for many of the same things... but what makes a TV all around better for being used as a TV and a monitor better for being used as a monitor? Are there visual or functional differences that apply to all monitors or all TVs?

Some of the obvious things that come to mind are that TVs have remotes and monitors generally don't. A common thing seems to be that TVs are 16:9 to fit with the 720P and 1080P resolutions, while monitors tend to have much higher 16:10 resolutions at much lower prices and screen sizes (for example a 24" 1920x1200 monitor vs a 32" 720P TV). Another big one is that TVs usually have cable inputs and tuners. This is a big one for many people, but then again, many TVs these days don't have these because of the abundance of external tuners and satellite\cable boxes.

But this brings up another big question.

I've only ever used or worked with analog TVs and plain old analog cable, so I have zero experience with cable boxes and external tuners. The thing that blows my mind is how TVs and DVR\DVDR recorders work with TV channels when they are just connected via standard video connections (like component or HDMI) through a cable box or tuner.

For example, why do TVs that don't have built in tuners have channel adjustment buttons on their remotes? And how do you record different channels on a DVR or DVD recorder that has no cable input? If you can only change the channel using your cable box then you must always have the same channel on your TV and your recorder? It seems kind of pointless this way, but my understanding of video connections (not TV cable) is that they are simply video and do not carry multiple channels, so it doesn't seem like it can work any other way.

Any input or sites regarding these things would be a big help.

I don't have the money to dabble in home theater setups and I watch no TV (I have internet but no TV service) but I'm getting way too rusty in this area and I need to catch up.

Thanks guys.
I think I can explain to you how a DVR (with a tuner) works. It is basically a small computer with a tv tuner in it. You change channels on the DVR and then it usually outputs the signal via component or HDMI to your tv, just like you would do on your computer. So the signal comes in from your provider, and then is converted for type of output you need. One way to think of it is streaming a youtube video. It streams from your internet connection, then is converted into a video signal on your graphics card to be displayed on the tv. That is pretty much what a digital DVR is doing. The tv itself can't change channels, it must be done on the DVR. The reason why a tv "monitor" might have buttons 0-9 to change channels is only so it can be programmed to work another device. They really won't serve a purpose on a tv without a tuner in it. (Maybe setting the clock... )

If your DVR doesn't have a tuner then it has to rely on an external tuner like a cable box. Once again, the cable box can tune to whatever station you want, but it will only output 1 signal, which is whatever channel you happen to be on. Just like the tv they are usually connected via component/VGA or HDMI/DVI. The video connection does only carry 1 signal at a time just like you said. I can't think of a good way to explain it but basically the signal doesn't directly pass through the tuner to the device. Only the tuner knows how to pick up a signal from the coax cable coming into your house. It has to process the data coming in and turn it into something that a TV/monitor/DVR can understand. Not only does the tuner pick up the video signal, but it also needs to take the audio signal and convert that for use by your speakers. You can't simply hook up your speakers to the wire and have sound come out of it either. I have a better analogy for that. You have a CD that you put into a cd-rom drive. It contains several tracks of sound. The computer can "tune" to the right track and uses the sound card to convert the audio into something your speakers can play. The speakers can only output what they are given from the pc.
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